New Here?
     
Search Result / "mistakes were made"

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Justifying Our Lives Away, Pt 1

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Justifying Our Lives Away, Pt 1

The best piece of non-fiction I’ve read this summer – by a long shot – is the little social science paperback Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. The title gives away the appeal. The authors, Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, place “justification” at the very center of day-to-day life, arguing that you simply cannot understand yourself or other people…

…Mistakes Were Made…

Mistakes Were Made

Some of us are so scared of being outed as human that we go to extreme measures to avoid any indication that we make mistakes. Architects, like me, are especially loath to admit error. You could say architects are conditioned to have ‘ego on steroids’ since the job is to manifest complete confidence in the unbuilt. Hence, we are conditioned to project belief in the unknown. For me, fully flawed, I consider design an act of faith,…

Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had: Justifying Our Lives Away, Pt 3

Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had: Justifying Our Lives Away, Pt 3

Continuing with our series on Self-Justification (part one, part two), we come to a subject of particular relevance this week: memory. Our text, as you’ll recall, is the excellent Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris. Have you ever reminisced with a friend or family member about an event, only to find that you have two contradictory recollections? It can be harmless – e.g. what color shirt someone…

From the Archives: Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had

From the Archives: Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had

Have you ever reminisced with a friend or family member about an event, only to find that you have two contradictory recollections? It can be harmless – e.g. what color shirt someone was wearing on our 10th birthday – or it can be painful – you were clearly mother’s favorite child vs. No, you were. These things don’t have to be in the distant past. I attended a church service a few years ago in which a preacher…

Frank and Debra and the Assassin of Love

Frank and Debra and the Assassin of Love

We come now to the final part of our series on self-justification, as articulated in the stellar book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, and I think you’ll agree that we saved the best – certainly the most crucial – for last. (Part One, Part Two and Part Three). As we’ve hopefully demonstrated, the drive for self-justification lurks behind an absurd amount…

Birmingham Conference Recordings: Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

Birmingham Conference Recordings: Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

A major thank you to everyone who helped us put on our conference in Birmingham, AL, especially all the good people at Cathedral Church of the Advent. What a delightful and inspiring time it was! Lots of laughter, a few tears, some great food and tons of new connections, we could not be more grateful. The audio files for the presentations are below, listed in chronological order, and are embedded to be playable on this site. You may download…

More 2011 Favorites: Books, Documentaries, Musical Discoveries and Web

More 2011 Favorites: Books, Documentaries, Musical Discoveries and Web

Books and Film Favorite Piece of Fiction (Read During 2011): Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. Not just a favorite of the year, but a favorite, period. It’s a rare work of art indeed that can shed light on both The Royal Tenenbaums and the Jesus Prayer. Unbelievably wise, delightfully funny and deeply religious (in the best possible sense), I’m not sure Christ had a better spokesman in the 20th century than Zooey Glass. And has…

Noisy Apartments, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Cost of Self-Justification

Noisy Apartments, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Cost of Self-Justification

Four years ago, my wife and I moved into an apartment on what is commonly considered the busiest block in Manhattan, 60th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave, also known as the off-ramp of Queensboro bridge. It is the main entrance point into New York for commercial traffic, as well as one of its prime shopping districts. Night and day, 18-wheelers rolled past our window and taxis honked their horns. Scores of tweens loitered outside Dylan’s Candy…

Vivian Gornick and the Sandpile That Crushed the Life Out of Love

Vivian Gornick and the Sandpile That Crushed the Life Out of Love

A particularly arresting example of self-justification and its effect on love from Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, which will be familiar to those who’ve listened to the talks from the recent Bham conference: At the age of sixty five, the feminist writer and activist Vivian Gornick wrote a dazzlingly honest essay about her lifelong efforts to balance work and love, and…

One of Us Cannot Be Wrong (I Told You So)

One of Us Cannot Be Wrong (I Told You So)

You know you’re listening to something pretty magnificent when both Ira Glass and St. Augustine get a nod. Kathyrn Schulz’s TED talk from 2011 is precisely such an instance. Her subject is one that we know (too) well: human fallibility and the art of being wrong. Up until a year or so ago, she chronicled her findings over on the Slate “Wrong Stuff” blog (which is where her interview with Ira Glass first appeared)….

Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Internet Addiction, Middle-Aged Mortals, and Unanswered Prayers

Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Internet Addiction, Middle-Aged Mortals, and Unanswered Prayers

Update: Accompanying episode of The Mockingcast up on iTunes now! ONE. On Monday, Mallory Ortberg, founder of The Toast (the-toast.net), posted a video in which she discusses her experience founding a blog. It’s safe to say that we’ve become fans of The Toast here at Mockingbird, and Ortberg’s language in this video, and her transparency, explains why. She speaks in a direct, very honest (and extremely funny) way, reminding us that when we look…

On Our Bookshelf (This Time Around)

As summer winds down, here’s what we’ve been reading over here at Mockingbird HQ (and on sabbatical), as published in the Love & Death Issue

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

George Saunders’ widely acclaimed first novel addresses death, grief, and the afterlife. Narrated by a graveyard full of, um, lively ghosts, this novel is a roller coaster from start to finish. With humor and empathy, Saunders powerfully illustrates that “the truth will set you free.”

Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott

Published this spring, Lamott continues to sing the song of grace: “Mercy is radical kindness. Mercy means offering or being offered aid in desperate straits. Mercy is not deserved. It involves forgiving the debt, absolving the unabsolvable.” Pulling from St. Augustine and the Dalai Lama, she weaves her thoughts on mercy with such honesty and humor that you might feel like you’re sitting down as one of her Sunday School students.

The Kingdom by Emmanuel Carrère

Emmanuel Carrère’s new book (novel? memoir? biography?) on St. Paul and the early Christians often reads like a diary fused with historical fiction. Carrère, well-known in France for his unique non-fiction storytelling, believes that the only way he can really communicate a subject is by looking as honestly as possible at himself. In this book, then, that means capturing the New Testament through his own relationship with and (un-)belief in its God. A powerfully honest and captivating reimagining of both the nature of belief and the radical message Paul carried.

The Unmade Bed: The Messy Truth about Men and Women in the 21st Century by Stephen Marche

Stay-at-home dads get no respect, women are still almost never in the boardroom, and feminism has failed us. Why, Marche ponders, have we come so far and are still inundated with the same bizarre problems? Because women are still women and men are still men, and no one wants to make the damned bed. If you are in ministry, your premarital counseling couples should read this brilliant book alongside Capon’s Bed and Board.

My Utmost: A Devotional Memoir by Macy Halford

Halford, who spent several years working as a staffer at The New Yorker, writes with immense care and loyalty about the devotional that shaped (and continues to shape) her life, Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. Halford, who was raised in an Evangelical family in Dallas, uses the devotional (and Chambers’ own life story) as a way of excavating her own life and Christian faith.

Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif

Greif is the co-founder of culture magazine n+1. This book synthesizes the strangeness of the modern world by challenging it and unpacking everyday taboos like exercise, hipsters, and punk music. Greif shows his cards as an Enneagram 8, but that doesn’t stop him from writing some real sizzlers on everyday life through a decidedly intellectual lens.

Abandon Me: Memoirs by Melissa Febos

One of our guests on The Mockingcast, Febos’ cutting collection of memoirs wrestles with addiction and sexuality and offers up a gratifying depth of spirituality. Her riff on the Jonah story and our innate calling towards “choose your own adventure stories” is one for the ages. She writes, “every love is a sea monster in whose belly we learn to pray.”

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

Ripping its title from a Dostoevsky classic, Elif Batuman’s debut novel follows Selin through her first year at Harvard. Upon arriving at school, she’s given an email address, her first. One night, she sends a snappy message to Ivan, the mysterious boy in her Russian class, and hilarity ensues. The romance would fit well in a 19th century novel—excepting Selin and Ivan’s preferred form of communication. Armed with a healthy suspicion of her surroundings and a sharp wit, Selin makes for a revelatory, refreshing narrator.

Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by Harriet Lerner

This little book ranks up there with our other social science fave, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me). Lerner gives us a powerful glimpse into all the strategies and self-deceptions we have around our wrongdoing–on what counts as an apology, and on what keeps us from giving (and receiving) it. She also insightfully keys in on the prime impulse that makes the non-apologizer a non-apologizer: the need to be perfect.

Phases: Poems by Mischa Willett

Poems playful, at times, epigrammatic, conscious of things Italian and incongruous—they are delightful and plain spoken, rhythmic and musical, at times difficult enough to slow the reader’s march through them, most times sufficiently welcoming and placed (e.g., the Pacific Northwest) to keep the reader coming back for more. The collection’s nine brief sections are laid out as though phases of a voyage. An exciting new volume in the Poiema Poetry Series (Cascade Books), curated by poet/editor D. S. Martin.